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December 5th, 2008
07:55 AM ET

Who is Bill Richardson?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/02/art.ap.bill.richardson.jpg]Citizen Jane Politics

You may remember Bill Richardson as one of the many candidates in the Democratic presidential primary field in 2008. But what else do we know about Barack Obama’s pick for Secretary of Commerce? So glad you asked.

Richardson has gobs of experience in public life, including as an official and unofficial diplomat, but curiously little experience in private industry for someone whose job it will be to create jobs in the private sector. With that said, here’s the scoop on Richardson:

  • He’s the highest profile Hispanic politician in the U.S.. His mother was Mexican and he grew up in Mexico City until high school, when he moved to Massachusetts. Richardson eventually married his high school sweetheart, Barbara.
  • He went to Tufts for undergrad and graduate school in international affairs, and was a minor-league baseball player.
  • After working on Capitol Hill and running unsuccessfully for Congress in 1980, Richardson won a House seat and represented New Mexico in Congress from 1982 to 1994.
  • He joined the Clinton Administration, first as U.N. Ambassador and then as Secretary of Energy. As Secretary, he was criticized for his response to the Wen Ho Lee espionage scandal.  At a hearing about the scandal, Sen. Robert Byrd said to Richardson, “I have to say, I am not calling for your resignation at this moment, but you have shown a supreme, a supreme contempt of the committees of this Congress…you have squandered your treasure, and I am sorry.” Ouch.

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Filed under: Bill Richardson • Raw Politics
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